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Showing posts from December, 2018

The Prince of Peace

When Jesus is born, the angels sing, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favours’ Jesus was born to bring peace: peace to all people and peace to all things. He was born so that we could be at peace with God, at peace with each other and at peace with creation. There is an icon (called 'Let all living things praise him') which I discovered in the Maly Voznesensky shop round the corner, which has at its centre the nativity of Jesus Christ. Mary is there, holding Jesus. The ox and ass are there. Joseph is on one side, looking – as usual – a bit thoughtful. It is all a little bit too much for him! The angels gaze on from above. The wise men are on the left. The shepherds are praising God on the right. But this is different to other nativity icons, because in the foreground we see all different kinds of beasts – camels, lions, elephants, bears, foxes, dolphins, kangaroos, horses, zebras, giraffes, owls, seals, walruses, gazelle, stor

The Lord is near

Philippians 4.4-7 (click on arrow above to hear audio of sermon)  It has been a fairly stressful week and at times I felt overwhelmed But it is nothing compared to what other people are going through Some of you may have had a hellish week; Some of you are under almost unbearable pressure Paul knew about pressure. He is writing this letter from prison. He is facing a capital charge. If it goes badly, he will be executed. And the church in Philippi that Paul founded, the church that he loves, is divided. There is a bitter conflict between two women. Just before these verses Paul has appealed to Eunice and Syntyche to agree in the Lord. And yet despite that, Paul urges his readers to rejoice, to be gentle, and not to be anxious about anything. But he doesn’t just tell them that – because that would be like telling a drowning person to swim harder. He gives them a reason. It is very simple – in English it is 4 words: ‘The Lord is near’. In Greek it is 3: ‘Ho Kyrios e

What if? A sermon for a carol service.

St Andrew’s does not do nativity plays St Andrew’s does amazing and creative Mike Gibson full scale nativity productions And last week was no exception. (click the arrow below for audio) The toys in a toy shop are told that there will be no nativity play – and so they put one on themselves. Woody was the director and a Tyrannosaurus Rex was his co-producer. Barbie – predictably – was Mary, although she was not impressed when she found out that her husband, Joseph, was to be played by Mr Potato Head. The angel Gabriel was Buzz lightyear, the inn keeper was a penguin, the sheep were played by the three pigs, and the wise men were three aliens. Oh, and the baby Jesus was made from Lego. Toys allow us to imagine another world With toys the impossible can happen: they can travel through space, they can speak, they can even put on nativity plays! With toys there are almost no boundaries: you can do with them what you want. Pigs can be sheep (very C21st), and you can make a bab